Hey everyone. In my current parish, our priest does not often speak on the topic of morality, if ever. I have never heard him mention abortion, contraception, gay “marriage”, euthanasia, or any other moral issue during Mass that I can recall. I do remember that in our prayer petitions there is one about respecting life though. I am not condemning my priest or anything but I am just simply wanting to encourage him to speak out about moral matters more often. How would I go about doing this?
I believe the clergy are required to explain the scripture readings for the day. There is a great deal of your topics all over the internet, television, radio, etc. I believe if this was the regular fare being served at mass, people would be posting a thread, “How do I get my pastor to stop talking about …I want to hear more of the gospel.”
They can introduce the topic lightly if it coincides naturally with the readings, but to hold an entire homily on this would be better served in a parish workshop. Most people who attend mass on a regular basis know right from wrong in connection with all of these topics. How could anyone be in the dark after Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae was promulgated? We had an abundance of homilies on this. RCIA people will be instructed about Catholic teachings in this regard.
Here is the statement in the GIRM:
- The Homily is part of the Liturgy and is highly recommended,[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 52, canon law 767§1] for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life.
It should be an explanation of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners.[cf Inter Oecumenici 54]
The homily has a specific function but you can ask your priest about one Of the topics you’d like to know more about. Ask him how to learn more and if he’ll speak about it at a parish function or study. He may begin to add more to his homilies as well as they for into the scripture readings.
I understand the frustration.
When Caroline Kennedy spoke at the DNC she started her speech saying she is Catholic then went on eapousing abortion. I expected a high rank catholic official to call her out on beliefs contrary to catholicism. Just silence instead when leadership was needed most.
If we ask our priests for something to be covered, when we do get it, it mayn’t have been how we wanted it to be covered or indeed whether we even properly heard it.
Are you wanting to really learn about it or are you just wanting to hear him preach about it? Its already been said to you there are plenty of resources around if you are genuinely wanting to learn about it.
I would say that it doesn’t have to be either/or, i.e. either talk about moral issues or talk about the readings of the day–a good preacher should be able to tie in what the readings say in some what that applies to us and to the moral teaching of the Church. It’s not as though Scripture is in a bucket here, and moral teaching in another, as much as we’d like to compartmentalize them. The entirety of the Church’s teaching, because it is the truth, is a coherent whole.
Every priest seems to have his own style. Some might fear coming across as being the Elmer Gantry type if they speak on morality.
Thanks everyone but I am still not sure as to how to approach him about this. I thought about sending him an e-mail or telling him over the phone since he doesn’t have much time before Mass and after Mass. I can’t easily schedule an appointment with him because he lives in a town that is about an hour away from here. He travels here on some weekends to celebrate Mass.
It’s hard to give a definitive answer without knowing more about your priest. Some people prefer to communicate via e-mail, others via phone, others via text, others via Facebook, others simply prefer that you schedule an appointment.
As a priest though, I can say that I would prefer someone come speak to me face to face. That way, I could speak a little more in depth with you and find out why you want me to preach about a specific topic. Is there a lack of understanding among the faithful on these issues, or is there plenty of understanding but a lack of obedience?
Your priest may also have his own reasons for not mentioning these things. Even though what you say is true, we must teach these difficult moral truths, there is a proper way to do it. The makeup of your particular parish may demand a different approach that your priest understands and can explain to you.
I’ll use myself as an example. I’m recently ordained (four months) and am still too new to my parish to really preach a homily on difficult moral issues with guns blazing for lack of a better term. It would be imprudent of me at this stage of my ministry. The net benefit would not outweigh turning a number of parishioners off to my message. If no one listens to you because you have the reputation of being the priest who always preaches about x, y, or z, then you aren’t really making any headway.
That’s a long way of saying that there are too many variables to simply answer your question by saying, “Just call him,” or “Just send an e-mail.” whatever you do, please be courteous and let him knows that it is from you. Priests are like anyone else. If someone wants to speak to us and if that person is respectful, we’ll listen and give an answer, even if it isn’t the answer you don’t want to hear. The biggest thing is that if you treat him with respect, he’ll treat you with respect.
I share your sentiments, Holly. While our priest lightly broaches moral topics on occasion, it’s in a very sterile, inclusive way, and typically is nothing more than a suggestion to go to this website or read this book about what the Church really teaches, or he’ll publish a letter from a bishop in our bulletin (say, for example, about the HHS mandate) and tell everyone they might want to read it. He’ll allude to what the Church says on these topics, but he won’t come right out and say xxx is wrong, don’t do yyy, zzz is a sin, etc. Those are the sorts of things I’d love to hear him saying, not just for my benefit but mainly for the benefit of those parishioners who aren’t as well-versed in the Church’s teachings.
The frustrating thing is that when you talk to him one on one or in a class he teaches, he’s much more blunt and has no problem talking about abortion, contraception, sin and lapsed/cultural/cafeteria Catholics. I sometimes want to grab him by the collar and yell, “Why aren’t you saying this in Mass?!?” Still, our pews range from nearly full to packed and our weekly collection is more than double what it was before he came to us.
We do have a local parish whose priest addresses these topics all the time. While he falls short of fire & brimstone, he’s very open and honest about these topics and will typically spend anywhere from 5-15 minutes lecturing on a given topic after going over the scripture in his homily. His homilies are very educational and very conservative in regard to Catholic teachings. However, a lot feel they’re also very divisive. Attendance is a fraction of what it was when he first came to the parish. On paper, they have more than double the number of families as our parish, yet their weekly collection is usually about one third of what we take in.
I love seeing what our priest has done with our parish, and while I’d like to hear more guidance from the altar, I can also understand a reluctance to drive people away. I think something needs to be done, although I’m not sure I know what the best approach is.
[quote=Holly]I can’t easily schedule an appointment with him because he lives in a town that is about an hour away from here. He travels here on some weekends to celebrate Mass.
All the more reason NOT to ask for specific moral topics. Why are you expecting a visiting priest on “some” weekends to address this. What has your regular pastor had to say?